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An Indonesian teen is now a half-million dollars richer after heir hunters tracked her down on behalf of her estranged father, who recently passed away with no will or next-of-kin.
The late Alexander Thomson, former BBC World Service editor for West Africa and the Far East, died in September 2020 of lung cancer at the age of 71, The Telegraph has reported. He left no instructions on what to make of his property or cache of Asian antiques, including a three-bedroom home and a late-19th-century Qing dynasty vase appraised at $27,000.
Had Thomson’s daughter, 15, not been located, his riches would have gone to his nearest relatives, a niece and nephew, according to Danny Curran, managing director of Finders International, a probate genealogy agency.
Thomson had retired to Ramsgate in Kent, UK before his death, but was born in Singapore where his father worked in public relations.
Thanks to a tip, Curran’s team revealed that Thomson had secretly wedded a woman in Indonesia, resulting in the birth of his only child in 2006, a daughter whose name has not yet been reported. The name of his estranged wife, whose marriage was not legally binding, has also been withheld from reports.
Curran told The Telegraph that Thomson’s connections with Asia both personally and professionally made the additional discoveries of Chinese artifacts “unsurprising,” despite their unassuming residence — a vase signed by China’s Guangxu emperor left to collect dust in a room in his home, and a rare 19th-century Peranakan wedding footstool, worth approximately $2,700, kept in storage under clothing and blankets.
The items were valued with help from Asian art expert Richard Harrison, of UK-based Dawsons Auctioneers and Valuers.
Investigators also unearthed the title to a former 60-foot lifeboat first launched in 1923, which Thomson set out to restore in his lifetime.
“We are thrilled that we traced Alexander’s daughter, who will rightly inherit his estate,” Curran told South West News Service reporters. “We are sure that this is what Alexander would have wanted.”
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